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Old 12-16-2014, 10:42 PM
 
Location: East Coast
678 posts, read 693,436 times
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Not sure if anyone here would know, but I'm an economist with a master's degree, and I've recently become really interested in urban economics and planning (especially transportation and zoning stuff). I see a lot of job postings for planners, and they usually ask for someone with a master's in planning or a related discipline (I guess architecture?). I was wondering if those that hire urban planners generally consider those with econ backgrounds for such jobs? I don't have any planning experience, but I do have a transportation background.
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Old 12-18-2014, 03:09 PM
 
2,388 posts, read 2,957,397 times
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I see a fair amount of jobs that are looking for people with an economics background in a planning context. The trick is to also have some planning experience under your belt.

Places like CBRE are always hiring. Ditto places like Brookings and other think tanks/consultants who work a lot with demographics/economics.

There's definitely a demand for it - it's just a matter of being in the right place at the right time and being willing to move cross-country.
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Old 12-19-2014, 01:14 PM
 
2,553 posts, read 2,006,584 times
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Econ is hugely important in city planning, public and private sector. There is a big need to estimate costs and benefits of projects, even if people generally misunderstand the concept of an estimate for numbers stretching 10 or 20 years out, and even if officials cherrypick numbers (We'll have 30,000 riders in 10 years! Based on what? Magic numbers!) when they need to push a project.
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Old 12-19-2014, 10:00 PM
 
28,441 posts, read 71,104,696 times
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There are always some organization / firms that will hire candidates that come with stellar recommendations / connections regardless of what degree requirements are stated but it would be foolhardy to pin all your hopes on such a longshot.

Even if a organization recognizes that planning has components of "economic analysis" the fact is that if the hiring manager WANTS someone holding a master's in economics they would put that in the hiring notice...

If you want to test the waters go ahead and send out your resume but be prepared not to hear back -- it may very well appear that you are merely looking for anything that says "master degree" and that is a way for your resume to quickly land in the trash heap.

Frankly even if you had some coursework in urban planning it would be a stretch to assume you truly have the skills sets needed when an organization seeks out someone that has a masters in urban planning. Why would they would settle for anything else? Take a long look at things that programs start with - GIS, Land use, Law. Are these areas in which you have any experience / coursework? Columbia GSAPP

UIC - UPP - MUPP

Even in the coursework for "economic development" the emphasis is rarely on those things that are common in graduate courses in economics -- http://164.67.121.27/files/UP/Syllabi/F13/271F13.pdf

Maybe try some coursework or a certificate program as much as way to network as a resume builder. Even things like MIT's OpenCourseware might be useful -- Real Estate Economics | Urban Studies and Planning | MIT OpenCourseWare
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Old 12-20-2014, 03:52 PM
 
Location: Southern California
15,087 posts, read 17,574,350 times
Reputation: 10299
Quote:
Originally Posted by ARrocket View Post
Not sure if anyone here would know, but I'm an economist with a master's degree, and I've recently become really interested in urban economics and planning (especially transportation and zoning stuff). I see a lot of job postings for planners, and they usually ask for someone with a master's in planning or a related discipline (I guess architecture?). I was wondering if those that hire urban planners generally consider those with econ backgrounds for such jobs? I don't have any planning experience, but I do have a transportation background.
Your academic background would work best at regional planning agencies (for counties, states, and multi-agency/city planning entities like council of government (COGS)) or large cities (in area and population) where 'big picture' economic projections and analysis occur. You also could get a job in the private sector working for land developers.

With that said, at the city I work, there are people here with degrees in landscape architecture, history, geography, and political science. You don't really need a planning degree to do this job.

[you should apply and see what happens - good luck]
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Old 12-27-2014, 11:51 PM
 
Location: Shingle Springs, CA
527 posts, read 1,259,488 times
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Consulting engineering firms often have economists on staff as they are needed for development and environmental planning work.

I also worked with an economist who was a planner for a county. She an economist, myself a geographer with an environmental education - we had very different viewpoints about things!
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Old 12-31-2014, 12:38 AM
 
2,388 posts, read 2,957,397 times
Reputation: 1953
Quote:
Originally Posted by darkeconomist View Post
Econ is hugely important in city planning, public and private sector. There is a big need to estimate costs and benefits of projects, even if people generally misunderstand the concept of an estimate for numbers stretching 10 or 20 years out, and even if officials cherrypick numbers (We'll have 30,000 riders in 10 years! Based on what? Magic numbers!) when they need to push a project.
In my experience transit ridership projections (and traffic projections) are done by modelers who usually come from an engineering background - not an economics background. But as you say, you're more likely to find someone with an economics background working on a CBA, housing projections, office growth, etc.
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Old 01-06-2015, 10:11 PM
 
Location: East Coast
678 posts, read 693,436 times
Reputation: 442
Thanks for the feedback guys...I actually have been applying to a lot of jobs at MPOs and regional planning agencies
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